Harbor Freight vs. Global Industrial vs. C&H Distributors: Which Hardware Store Is Best?

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Today, hardware stores carry much more than just tools. Global Industries and C&H Distributors have large selections of business and industrial hardware and products from hand trucks to air compressors. Harbor Freight carries more of the type of products

Harbor Freight

Harbor Freight Tools was founded in 1977 as a small family owned business and they are still family owned today. In addition to their online hardware store, they also have 500 retail stores throughout the United States. Harbor Freight has more than 7,000 tools and hardware accessories at prices that are at times 80% less than other brands.

Harbor Freight tools only sells their brands of tools and hardware. They put their tools through rigorous tests that far exceed normal use and they have a satisfaction guarantee.

Harbor Freight Products

Harbor Freight carries all types of tools for all tasks. You can shop by looking through their monthly ads, sales and clearance, by interest or the following main categories.

  • Power Tools
  • Air Tools
  • Hand Tools
  • Automotive and Motorcycle
  • Engines and Generators
  • Garage & Shop
  • Household
  • Lawn & Garden
  • Material Handling
  • Welding

You can also shop by price, subcategories and by their various brands.

Harbor Freight Coupons

Harbor Freight Shipping Rates

Harbor Freight offers a flat rate of $6.99 for ground shipping that includes insurance. This flat rate is for shipping that is not overweight. Overweight is considered for orders that are over 150 lbs shipped in the continental U.S. and over 70 lbs outside of the continental U.S. An oversized order is calculated by girth and anything over 130 inches is oversized. Girth = (width + height) x 2 + length. Harbor Freight also offers Premium and Express shipping. For international shipping, please call them at 1-800-423-2567, 24 hours.

Harbor Freight Return Policy

Harbor Freight allows you to return a product within 90 days of the date of purchase. You can return an online purchase to a local retail Harbor Freight store. A restocking fee of 20% may apply. They do not specify when and if a restocking fee applies.

Harbor Freight Customer Satisfaction

Harbor Freight has customer comments rating from poor to very good. Google has rated them 3.9 out of 5 and ResellerRatings.com rates them only 1.33 out of 10 with the following comments.

  • "HF has low cost stuff. I've purchased some items there and have been quite pleased. Don't expect to use their products in the commercial construction field but for someone like me who uses an item for small jobs and around the house I'm happy. As far as their stores the ones in my area are well stocked, neat and have nice people working in them. You can't beat the free items you get just or walking in."
  • "I have made numerous purchases both online and in store. Never had an issue. I like to look at items in store before purchasing for anything that I am not familiar with so I can check quality. Returns have never been a problem and shipping has always been quick and well packed in my experience. "
  • "The cheap tools from Harbor Freight are great for the average homeowner who just needs to do a minor repair once in a while. It is also a great place to buy paint brushes, sanding pads, tarps, tie downs, and other small tools.

Most of the complaints concerned very poor customer services and receiving the wrong item that was ordered.

Global Industrial

Global Industrial has been in business 1949, selling private label and brand name tools and industrial supplies. They are located in Port Washington, New York and have several warehouses throughout the United States. They have more than 1 million material handling, industrial and business products that range from hand tools to air conditioners. You can contact them at 1-888-978-7759.

Global Industrial Products

Global Industrial sells everything for industry and business including office supplies, furniture, storage, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and more. You can shop their online hardware store by brand or by categories. They carry hundreds of name brands divided nicely into their main categories including:

  • Electrical and Bulbs
  • Fasteners and Hardware
  • Furniture
  • Foodservice and Appliances
  • HVAC
  • Janitorial
  • Material Handling
  • Medical and Laboratory Equipment
  • Office and School Supplies
  • Outdoor and Grounds Maintenance
  • Plumbing and Pumps
  • Raw Material and Building Supplies
  • Storage and Shelving
  • Safety
  • Tools and Instruments
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Workbench and Shop Desks

Most of their products are rated with customer reviews.

Global Industrial Shipping Rates

Global Industrial shipping rates are calculated at the checkout based on the weight, distance and shipping method selected. Most products will be shipped via UPS, and items that are too large will be shipped by truck. There is a minimum $60 shipping fee for truck deliveries. They offer the following shipping methods.

  • UPS Ground (3-8 days delivery)
  • UPS Second Day Air
  • UPS Next Day Air
  • Truck (3-8 business days)

Global Industrial Return Policy

If you are not satisfied with your products, you can contact Global Industrial within 30 days of receipt. A refund may be arranged upon inspection. There may be a 15% restocking fee. Certain products cannot be returned. Questions about returns can be directed to their customer service department at 1-800-645-2986.

Global Industrial Customer Satisfaction

Global Industrial is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating and they have very good customer ratings and customer comments.  ResellerRatings.com rates them an excellent 8.56 out of 10. A few comments include:

  • "If I'm not mistaken, we got our order in 2 days. VERY impressive ! I won't hesitate to shop Global again when we need something. Thanks"
  • "Global has high quality products that ship usually same day and arrive most times the next day, Their customer service is knowledgeable and easy to work with on the phone or via chat box."
  • "Consistent supplier, Very broad inventory, I have bought everything from mop heads to steel forklift extensions, this order was for DOT Truck Placards…"

C&H Distributors

C&H Distributors was founded in 1937 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin which is where they are still located. You can contact them at 1-888-316-2223.

C&H Distributors Products

C&H Distributors carries more than 50,000 products for commercial, industrial and business uses. They are like Global Industries in that they are much more than just a hardware store, but they do not carry the selection of tools that the other hardware stores do. They carry all brand name products that you can shop for by category and subcategory, catalogue, new items and clearance. Their main categories are;

  • Material Handling
  • Drums, Drum Storage and Drum Handling
  • Cabinets and Lockers
  • Racks and Shelving
  • Storage Containers and Bins
  • Workbenches and Workshop Furniture
  • Docks and Warehouses
  • Carts and Trucks
  • Industrial Safety
  • Office and Furniture
  • Packaging and Shipping Supplies
  • Outdoor Products
  • Janitorial and Maintenance

Their website also includes helpful product selection guides, assembly instructions and technical information.

C&H Distributors Shipping Rates

C&H Distributors offers $1 shipping for your entire order when you spend more than $400. Shipping rates quoted online are estimates and you can call them at 1-800-558-9966 for actual freight charges. Their orders are usually delivered within 3 days.

C&H Distributors Return Policy

C&H Distributors offers an easy return policy. If you are not happy with your purchase, contact the company for shipping instructions and return it back to them within 45 days for a full credit. This full credit includes the original freight charges as well. Returns after 45 days are subject to a restocking fee.

C&H Distributors Customer Satisfaction

C&H Distributors is an accredited member of the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating and zero complaints. I could not find any customer ratings concerning C&H Distributors. This is common with companies that sell mainly to industrial businesses.

C&H Distributors


It is hard to say which hardware store is the best. Global Industries stands out by carrying the most products and the largest selection of product types. They carry everything from hand and power tools to large industrial supplies like laboratory equipment.

C&H Distributors is second with a large selection of business and industrial products, but they do not carry many hand tools that you can find at the other hardware stores.

Harbor Freight is more of a hardware store with their brand of all types of tools and hardware accessories.

1 comment

Theotinus Rugaiyamu
Posted on Aug 11, 2014